What do I do with the anger? Send a letter?

Old 11-18-2012, 11:41 AM
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What do I do with the anger? Send a letter?

After 4 years of addiction mess my ABF goes to rehab (for the 4th time) and as soon as he gets serious about recovery he says he wants to move on and focus on recovery. The only indication he gives that he understands what I've been through with him is where in his letter he says "I hope you understand why I've decided on this. Now is your time to get your life back together too". I've been through hell and back with him and back again. I do what I can to support and when it's gotten too much I step back and let him figure it out on his own. The last 4 years has been something I can't explain fully but I know everyone here gets it. And it's never been a "good" time to tell him how I feel. How it's affected ME. Either he's getting sober and I don't want to upset him. Or he's using and it won't matter what I say anyway. I'm so tired of not talking about ME. I'm so tired of it being about him. And I'm so angry. I do think he's taking it seriously this time and he has a good chance of making it. After everything, when he gets serious about recovery he wants to work on his relationships with his daughter and family. I get all of that. The need to work on those things and the need for space in early recovery. There's just no recognition of what I have gone through. I feel so disregarded and used...I'm important to him in the addiction but getting serious about recovery turns me into a loose end to tie up. I'm just hurt and angry and I don't even know what else. I have a letter telling him exactly how I feel. Do I send it? Is worrying about how it affects him just another part of codependancy? Is it healthy to feel like I'm sending the anger in the right direction? I just don't know what to think or feel any more.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:09 PM
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Unfortunately, they don't care about what addiction did to you. In recovery, they are just as
selfish as they were in the throws of addiction.

I'd write the letter, then tuck it away somewhere, reread it when you are further along in your recovery,then decide whether to send it or not.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:42 PM
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So sorry, I feel disregarded & used to & completely understand.
Hugs to you.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:48 PM
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I agree with Dollydo. I once wrote a letter to my AH, and he just taunted me with it throwing back lines that he thought were cheesy.

I'm feeling like you are right now, but I know it's because it's ME that's depriving ME of something I need--he's not depriving me of it. He's going to do what he's going to do. I need to detach and just figure out what I'm lacking and go get it for myself.

I do understand the frustration. Consider what he told you: "Now's the time for you to get your life back together, too."

When I get angry these days it's because I haven't been true to me--I have given up too much energy on things I can't control
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:51 PM
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Dear Stigmatized,

You feel this way because you HAVE been used. The alcoholic doesn't have much range in what s/he feels or does in addiction, and the major focus is on their needs. From what I understand of early sobriety, when the alcohol is gone, they are no longer anesthetized from what they didn't want to feel.

You are entitled to, you deserve to feel anything and everything because a whole lot has happened to you on this rollercoaster.

The thing of it is, you're not likely to get any comprehension from the A, maybe much later in their recovery.

It's very dismaying, it makes those of us who have stood by and tried to support our alcoholics feel lots of rage, abandonment, you name it.

What it also can do, and this is the point of Alanon, is set us free. Set us free to take back our own feelings, to cut the umbilical cord that our alcoholic required from us, and to live our own lives, our own way, for ourselves.

There is much more out there for you than the stress, dysfunction, and chaos of the last years. Hang around here, read the stickies, try Alanon, try Beatties book Co-Dependent No More, from the date you joined, you've been around here.

Come here if you want many someones to listen to you; we care. We've been there, and we'll be here for you. Far more than a barely sober alcoholic can be.

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Old 11-18-2012, 03:04 PM
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Write it.
And then ask yourself what you are expecting to achieve if you were to send it.
Chances are, whatever your goal is, it's unlikely you will achieve it.
So write it. Get your feelings out. Go pound a heavy bag at the gym. Or something.
And then move on.
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:10 PM
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When my ABF went to rehab, he made me mad while he was there. "Oh, I have to focus on myself, blah blah blah." It ended up that I was visiting him and ended up crying to his counselor (he wasn't there though) about what is the point of being sober if you are still going to not care about life? There are kids, bills, work, school, family, personal issues, etc. to work on, and he is doing the same thing being sober that he was doing being drunk. And at least while he was drinking, as horrible as this sounds, he was there every couple of days to help with the kids, so I could go to work or get homework done or do that little thing some people call sleep.

Anyway, the week before that I wrote him a letter. It was horrible, broke down every thing in the relationship he ever did to me, told him I hated him, I wish I never got pregnant by him, after everything I did FOR him and everything he did TO me, I would never forgive him, etc. It was really bad. It was 8 pages long. I told him about it but told him I didn't want to give it to him, but after he made me mad at the rehab, I gave it to the counselor. She thought it would impede his recovery. I said, "I really don't care, it helps mine." I said it's better to read it while he was there to have a counselor help him process it and all that, instead of getting ahold of it later and drinking over it.

She finally gave it to him 3 days before he got out. That is 2 weeks after I gave it to her. And you know what? I felt a thousand times better after I wrote it. I knew she wasn't going to give it to him right away, but the fact that SOMEONE knew what he did to me was enough. I am a writer. I write all the time, but this time was different because I was a hundred percent honest, and I knew he was going to read it at some point, and I was one of those people who always hid the real reason why I was mad because I didn't want to make things worse.

It took a couple of days, but there was this huge weight lifted off my shoulders since that day. And even now, he doesn't make me as mad as he used to. It's like the past is in the past now, where it belongs.

He really had nothing to say about it either. He said he got it and that was it. I didn't press the issue, because I really don't care what he thought about it, I wrote it for my own recovery.
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:02 PM
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when my husband got out of rehab, i thought everything might go back to some what of a normal life. that he would say he was sorry and would try to thank me for stepping up to take care of things in the home. i was disappointed that he wanted to work on himself just like your abf. so i started to look to information to help me get him to understand my view point. boy was i shocked to learn he may never see it my way.

as a general rule for every year of addiction it take one month of soberiety for the brain to get to normal chemical levels. so if he was abusing for 10 years you will have to wait almost a year for abf to make a real appearance. in may case my ah only gave himself 30 days of being sober before he fell of the wagon and has never recovered.

i would advise any one whose loved one is going to rehab or in now, read up on how the addict will be be then they come home. the alcholic will be very very emotional on things that would be normal for most people. sex is out of the question for most males because their estrogen levels are high. so that can cause a lot of stress in your relationship, just breath and realize you are in still in the side effects of the addiction.

your anger is very valid and understood by many on sr. but if you want take his advise and let him work on himself and you care this time to take care of yourself. one thing i found out about myself is sadly my ah never asked me to take care of everything I JUST DID. so i set myself up to hold that fact over his head. i really thought i was doing right for my family but i was not aware of my co-dependency. I can not mother my ah but i can let him be himself (NOW). i can thank my ah for grow and find i am a strong person. two years ago i would have been in pieces everyday but now it is only once a month or so.

i have found writing a journal helped me!! i go back and read it looking at how much is focused on myself or him. it becoming more about my welfare and it has made me proud of myself. good luck and understood common friendship!!!
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:37 PM
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One thing is for sure--when you're writing a letter to someone that you are angry with--you never give them ammunition. If there's anything in there that he can throw back in your face with some mean little laugh--keep that part out. I wouldn't want your letter to hurt YOU.
And that's the thing I suppose. If he wants to focus solely on himself after cheating you out of a decent relationship the last four years--what's to say that he will even listen to what you say while he's reading it? He might gloss over anything he doesn't like or agree with.
If you can write the letter, and then go back and read it later before sending it--and feel that you spoke the truth in every line--and still want to send it--by all means DO.
If there's hurtful stuff in there, too bad. Sometimes I get sick of taking care of their feelings. When did they take care of ours?
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:45 PM
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I can't tolerate resentment and must work hard when I feel wronged. What helps cut it is to ask myself: "what's my part in this"? In other words, how was I part of the problem? In the case of the RABF who caused me real agony, I had to admit that I picked him and I decided to stay. Nobody put a gun to my head, it was my (poor) decision. It's a big help in not making the same mistake again.
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:39 PM
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I did the journal thing as well, I wrote my ABF a letter every day he was in rehab.

Sometimes it was stupid stuff like, I did this today, I miss you today, etc.

Sometimes it was more important things like, I know you are doing ABC, and I also need to do XYZ.

He has not seen this one, although he knows about it. If he ever wants to read the stuff I write, he knows where it is, but he does not choose to. I don't hide it, because I am honest when I write.

Really, I have seen a change in the past couple of weeks, and so have other people I interact with. To be honest, it is the meetings I go to. I tell everyone I know to go to meetings, regardless of whether they are dealing with an addiction or not, because the longer you go, the more you find that it helps you with life as well, not just the addict.
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:52 PM
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Do I send it?
I wouldn't. I've done so in the past and all it has gotten me is more hurt.

Is worrying about how it affects him just another part of codependancy?
Probably, yes. What you SHOULD be focused on is YOU. And how to get yourself feeling better, without HIM playing a part in your doing so. Because he can't really get you feeling better any more than alcohol can get HIM feeling better. We're all broken. And it's too much, really, to ask an alcoholic or addict, someone who is weaker even than we are with their monkey on their back, to help us.

Is it healthy to feel like I'm sending the anger in the right direction?
Do you mean towards him? Do you mean in the letter? Do you tell him how much HE hurt you and how much you sacrificed? And do you point your finger at him or his actions or his alcoholism? In other words, blame him? And ask for what you think will make you feel better? Because if your question is meant to ask whether or not directing your anger at him is healthy, my answer would have to be no. Not healthy. When my expectations don't get met, I get real angry. Spitting mad. Seriously. I would hate to be on the receiving end of my own anger. How about you?

I just don't know what to think or feel any more.
Al-Anon can help you here. It will give you new perspective. And new words to describe what you are going thru and have gone thru.
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:39 AM
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Write but don't send.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:42 AM
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One of the hardest things for me to accept was that its OK to be angry. I had been in a horrible, abusive and frustrating experience with my AW. Anger is a normal response to something like that. What I had to learn to do was pass through my anger and come out the other side rather than either ignoring it or clinging to it.

We have been separated 20 months now and I still get bouts of anger. Difference is now I accept them and let go. It's all part of the healing process.

My tools for getting through the dark days were journaling, exercise and martial arts.

I can't say what will work best for you but realize it is normal and a big part of healing that will go quicker if you don't fight it.

Oh yeah, I wouldn't send the letter. It's just an invite for him to manipulate with your permission.

Your friend,
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:20 AM
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I wrote and sent plenty. I got some things out that needed to be said and that felt good. I wrote some things that I felt compelled to say but wished I hadn't in hindsight.

I got a lot of things back that made me more upset, frustrated and confused. I got some things back that made me hopeful (only to be disappointed, often) and some that made me more compassionate. The stuff she wrote back or said has been all over the place depending on the stage of her supposedly sober early recovery and the situation with her one non-abstinent addiction.

So, the only things I would say to you is wait ... stew on it ... keep it simple if you do decide to send anything ... say what you felt and feel (rather than blaming or shaming) and what happened to you ... and, if you ask why, don't have any expectations.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:25 AM
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I can't tell you how much your responses mean. I don't feel so alone in this and someone else understands. I wonder how much of my anger is really at myself? Maybe writing the letter is a last ditch effort to do and say what I should've said long ago? I'm at work now, but I will be back on in a while. I just wanted to say that I appreciate all the responses, it feels a little like spotting a light house.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:20 AM
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Dear stigmatized--this is my personal take on the "send or no send" issue.

It is normal to feel angry when you find yourself on the short end of a relationship. I don't think you would be normal if you weren't angry! (I have been in your shoes--of expressing anger to my As for the pain they inflicted on me). So, I have experience of how it goes....

I suggest writing the letter---making sure that you stick to1) what he did, and (2) how you FELT when he did the hurtful action/words, etc... AS MadeOfGlass warned: Do not give him ammunition to use back on You!!!! Keep it simple. WHAT HE DID/HOW YOU FELT.

After writing it---sit on it for a while. Reread it every 2 days, or so. Then send it, if you want. If not, hold on to it---you can reread it or send it at whatever future date you may decide.

This is my reasoning--based on my personal experience. First--this is about you and what is in your best interest. You cannot count on anything from him***NOTHING.

The As are pretty much incapable of facing the reality of the pain and destruction that they have visited on others. Remember that they have used alcohol to shield themselves from all uncomfortable feelings and emotions for a very long time. Furthermore, they generally suffer from low self esteem and do not have the ego-strength to accept that they may have done wrong. So, when confronted, they most often defend themselves by becoming angry and projecting everything onto the person confronting them. They will attack back viciously and put blame everywhere else rather than taking personal responsibility. Most have to work their sobriety program for some time before they are able to take responsibility.

You must be prepared for this if y ou do send the letter. I am not saying "don't send it"---I am saying to be prepared and do NOT take his reaction personally--but, as another symptom of the disease.

I hope this is of some help to you.

sincerely, dandylion
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by stigmatized View Post
I can't tell you how much your responses mean. I don't feel so alone in this and someone else understands. I wonder how much of my anger is really at myself? Maybe writing the letter is a last ditch effort to do and say what I should've said long ago? I'm at work now, but I will be back on in a while. I just wanted to say that I appreciate all the responses, it feels a little like spotting a light house.
Took me a long time to let go of the anger at myself for getting into this mess in the first place. And dragging my teenagers through it with me.

Dealing with that anger - forgiving myself - was a huge turn around in my life. I have anger at him left...its still there, lurking, messing with my head some days (if I allow it to), and I recognize, like M1K3 says, this is normal and its healthy!

I did the letter writing stuff. It was never successful in regards to me or our relationship. But keeping his responses and re-reading those when I get into the wallowing mode that includes forgetting how nasty he was, helps bring me back into reality. However, it hurts, and I would never set myself to be hurt like that again.

Write your letter. Then stick it in your journal to read again down the road. I have pages of letters to him that I never sent. And now I can see just how miserable I was with this guy, and its a great reminder of what I don't ever again want in my life.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:49 PM
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Thanks for this thread - I too want to write a letter, to give me closure and the advice here is really helpful.

I'm angry too like you and I feel like putting the facts down on paper - not for a reaction, just so I know I've said it and I can put that to bed.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:44 AM
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wow. everybody basically said what i was going to.
anyhow on with it then...
in times of sobreity with ah days weeks whatever heck even if it were years i would still feel the need to tell him how i feel. why shouldnt i right? why shouldnt you? after all we had to hear their anger,their depression,their craziness and their mockery towards us.
only seems fair to me. i have let off some steam before with ah just to get a angry reaction or a lost puppy face from him. even those times i didnt feel like he was ever really listening probably because he never really did. his addict brain just said me me me. mine mine mine.
even if they say otherwise after all how selfish is it to lay out their problems on us. blame us and then when their problems actually become ours and we need to vent-they dont listen it or want to.
sadly youde have better luck reading it to a wall than to him
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